University of Maine reserve men’s ice hockey goaltender Nik Nugnes has left school to pursue other opportunities.
He was brought in as an insurance policy in case either of the senior goalies, Martin Ouellette and Dan Sullivan, got hurt. Sophomore Matt Strickrott had been the third-string goalie, but he also handled administrative chores such as video work.
Nugnes backed up freshman Sean Romeo and redshirt junior Matt Morris this past season and practiced with the team as did former Bangor High standout goalie Chris Howat.
Nugnes never appeared in a game during his year and a half in Orono.
“Nik worked hard and was a good kid and a good teammate. He was well-liked,” said Maine assistant coach Ben Guite. “But he wanted the opportunity to play in games.”
Guite said Nugnes also is a talented lacrosse player and is weighing his options in both sports.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of West Barnstable, Massachusetts, last played for the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Junior Hockey League during the first half of the 2013-14 season and had a 13-6 record for the division-leading Oilers before deciding to join the Black Bears.
He wasn’t a scholarship player.
Nugnes had initially intended to play for former Maine assistant coach Gary Wright’s American International College Yellow Jackets in Springfield, Massachusetts, but decided to wait a year to develop a little more and see if any other offers presented themselves.
He did hear from other Division I schools but decided to give Maine a shot.
Romeo, who has three years of eligibility remaining, and Morris, who has two, will return, and they will be joined by incoming freshman Rob McGovern, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound netminder from Weymouth, Massachusetts.
The 20-year-old McGovern was 13-8 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage for the Bay State Breakers of the United States Premier Hockey League this past season.